Tag Archives: Lens distortion Correction

Watch your angles there Skippy!

My blog post: Shooting Architectural Interiors was featured in the Nik Software November newsletter where it came to the attention of LA photographer John MacLean. John commented that while I did okay with the HDR, I screwed the pooch on the shoot itself. And I did. I broke one of the cardinal sins of Commercial Architecture shoots. Angular distortions. Or more particularly, Keeping parallel lines parallel.

Now on an art shoot we may want to celebrate and in fact even play off these distortions, but in a Commercial Architectural setting, they are a big no no. What do these angular distortions look like? Well you may see them as Keystoning -the top of the object appears wider than the bottom (or the reverse) or we may see curvature distortions from using too wide of a lens and placing the object too close to the edges of the lens that have the most distortion.

As John also pointed out, how I should have corrected this was either to shoot level (Lens absolutely level) Or I could have corrected the mistake using the Lens Distortion correction in Lightroom (I believe ACR does it as well).

What the first part means is when shooting interiors or exteriors of buildings for that matter, We need to keep the camera level and not point up or down at what we are shooting We also may need to shoot centered such as when shooting a door or window, moving off of center will cause the side closest to the camera to appear longer than the side most far away.

Here are some examples…Of course I could not have shot at possibly worse time, The intense afternoon sun coming through my pergola and I had to Topaz the heck out of them just to make the shadows visible. But hopefully you’ll get the idea here. (I truly apologize for these shots but didn’t want to wait to shoot tomorrow since I am working on tomorrow’s post)

Here is a door shot low and not level (lens pointing up)











This one was shot from the side and not square to the door but was at least Lens level which isn’t always bad since we maintained parallel lines. But notice the perspective. How the right side seems smaller than the left side even though we know they are both the same height











This one was shot High, Lens pointing down and at too wide angle (Hey look, There’s me!) This is an example of how this may work if we were doing an art piece and wanted some whimsy to it, but would never work commercially











And the Momma Bear shot, Level and Square












If I was unable to shoot level due to circumstances, the best option then may be to use a tilt-shift lens to correct for the distortions. That’s an expensive option but one that may be looked into if you do a lot of architecture shoots.

But as John suggested there is another means to fix this problem post shoot and that is by using the lens correction section of the develop module in Lightroom (and ACR).

Here is the original image (brightened to show detail) with some guides pulled in to show all the lines that are off



So I opened the image in Lightroom and in the Develop Module, scrolled down to The Lens Correction area

With this tool you can correct for horizontal and vertical shifts along with curvature problems with wide angle lenses. It’s a powerful and easy to use tool.

Clicking on one of the controls brings up a grid pattern on your image and you can drag the control until you get your lines in order. Clicking the box for keeping the crop will crop the image as you align.












So here is our before and after of the shot  I used for the blog article



























Hope that helps,